As the feedback of “Giant Peach” pushed the First Avenue audience into a frenzy, bassist Theo Ellis picked up Ellie Rowsell (vocals/guitar) as the band exited the stage. As if being carried over the threshold, it was the proper conclusion to a stellar and energetic performance by Wolf Alice. From the incredible beauty of “Blush” to the rocking hair metal of “Giant Peach,” the London quartet concluded the evening with the songs that put them on the map; across the pond and in Minneapolis-proper (respectively).
Wolf Alice have seemingly toured endlessly since 2013. In fact, they’ve toured the United States a half dozen times since 2015; with breaks to an record album, road test songs, tour and repeat. In September 2017, the band released Visions of a Life. Instead of a regurgitating the winning formula of their debut, Wolf Alice flexed their muscles and confidence to produce an album which builds off My Love Is Cool in nearly every direction. This week, Wolf Alice returned to Minneapolis for the 5th time (yes, bean counters, fifth) with not one, but two performances.
On Monday night, the band performed an intimate 4-song set and meet-and-greet at The Electric Fetus. Before a group of attentive fans, Wolf Alice performed stripped-down renditions of “Sadboy,” “Space & Time,” “Don’t Delete the Kisses” and “Bros.” Two takeaways from the set were the strength of Ellie Rowsell’s voice and the musicianship among her bandmates (Joel, Joff and Theo). Drummer Joel Amey assist on vocals perfectly compliments her voice. No matter the space, the band understand how to perform a song to its strengths; knowing when to allow space within the music to complement and push Rowsell’s beautiful voice. On Tuesday night the band displayed the diversity and extremes of their sound with 19 songs in 80-minutes.
Wolf Alice display an innate understanding of pace and tempo. Tuesday’s First Avenue show was cathartic, ethereal, metal, melancholic and uplifting – all in the first three songs. On Joel’s cue, the band warmed up the audience with the building “Heavenward,” then ripped off the band-aid and lit the venue on fire with “Yuk Foo” and the fist pumping swagger of “You’re a Germ.” Afterward, they gave the audience a bit of a breather with “Your Love’s Whore” and “St. Purple and Green” — then showered the audience in the hopeless romanticism of “Don’t Delete the Kisses” and the childhood tribute to besties “Bros.” The band didn’t slow down from there. Wolf Alice matched the gorgeous “Silk” with the uptempo retro cool “Beautifully Unconventional,” the hypnotic groove of “Formidable Cool” with their latest single “Sadboy.” Placing my cards on intention,”Visions of a Life” was the only slow point of the night; afterwards, Wolf Alice only delivered the goods. They rounded out the set with hard rocking and punchy renditions of early hits “Moaning Lisa Smile” and “Fluffy.” After a short break, the band retook the stage with the beautiful melancholy bliss of “Blush” [a personal favorite]. With that, the band capped off the night with giant, ‘Giant Peach.” Guitarist Joff Odie was all over the stage. Theo jumping off his monitors. Rowsell went into the audience and screamed the final lyrics as the band erupted into a final monster jam. As Ellie took her final steps across the stage, Theo swooped her off her feet and carried her down the stage stairs. That, my friends, is Wolf Alice.
You’re a Germ
Your Love’s Whore
St. Purple & Green
Don’t Delete The Kisses
Space & Time
Visions Of A Life
Moaning Lisa Smile
The Big Pink